“This can really be whatever I want it to be, and this is a way for me to express myself.”
- Cierra McNeal
Nikki Blaine opened Fashion Here & Now, during Indiana Black Expo’s Summer Celebration on July 18 at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis. “I was having a playful experience with color. You’ll see a little bit of yellow, black, white, red, fuchsia [and] blue. I was thinking along the line of resort, borderline professional glam-chic, multi-purpose, multi-tasked type collection,” Blaine said. “I’m always about that little bit of va-va-voom.” Her collection featured pieces that ranged in ages, from young girls to working-age women.
Color wasn’t Blaine’s only inspiration for her collection. She used a lot of geometric shapes, especially circles, in her designs. “You’ll see a lot of skirts that have a lot of flounce in them,” said Blaine. But she also made sure to stay true to herself by changing things up with little quirks, she said. “Some asymmetrical, some little inconsistencies like half of a collar. There’s a little mix of pleasure for me. I like to do things a little different, so it’s a little off, but it’s intentional, therefore, it creates its own art that way.”
Since she was a young girl, Blaine said she has known that she was destined for the fashion industry. “I said I wanted to be a fashion designer when I was nine. It has been something that I have cultivated as I grew older, and it’s just a passion that never left me.” Although her mother was talented with makeup, Blaine isn't sure what sparked her interest in fashion. “It was something that was just in me,” Blaine said.
Cierra McNeal was one of the fashion design students featured in the fashion show. “Design, for me, is just something that I kind of fell into in high school. I always liked fashion,” McNeal said. “After I took my sewing class, I started interning at Carmel Civic Theater doing theater design and stuff like that, and I just kept going.”
McNeal’s designs are inspired by music and movies. “This collection, in particular, is inspired by a song by A$AP Ferg, called Cocaine Castle, so that’s where the color came from and mood and all the layering.” The song gave her the inspiration she needed in order to combine colors and techniques that she had wanted to use for a while. “He’s talking about the effect that cocaine has on you and how it can consume you – and it just worked out for me because I really like this song and the mood is really dark and I was really wanting to do a tan and cream/off-white collection, so it really helped me envision the design.”